Tag Archives: Christoph Lumer

OSSA Day 3: Scheming

"Argument Schemes: An Epistemological Approach," Christoph Lumer, Universita' di Siena.

I like this topic very much, as I find the notion of Argument schemes to historically interesting (descending from the medieval variations on the Aristotelian topoi), theoretically enlightenging (as a classificatory system of argument types), and pedagogically useful (as a way of teaching argument construction and evaluation).  Lumer likes the idea of schemes as well, but finds the articulation of them wanting.  His paper articulated a different, and more limited set, of schemes (basically deductive, inductive, and practical).  Those aren't so much schemes as they are types of argument.  Nonetheless, the focus of Lumer's work is the epistemic theory of argumentation, which understands arguments as about justifief belief, rather than, say, agreement, conflict resolution, etc.  Fun thing about this paper is the Douglas Walton, the leading exponent of the scheme view under criticism, was in attendence, and challenged Lumer's approach in the Q and A.  He questioned the basis of Lumer's selection of schemes–pointing out that it was overly theoretical, and unrelated to the way people actually argue.  A good time was had by all. 

OSSA Day 2: Fallacy Identification

Last session of the day, Mark Battersby and Sharon Bailin's "Fallacy Identification in a Dialectical Approach to Teaching Critical Thinking," argued for the following three points:

  • Fallacies are arguments whose rhetorical value greatly exceeds their probative value;
  • Fallacy identification plays a prima facie role in eliminating bad arguments;
  • Fallacies are not the end of critical analysis, but open the door to more comprehensive evaluation.

Very helpfully, they set their view against some other common approaches to fallacies (Rescher, Hansen, Pragma-Dialectics, Walton–should do a post on these some day).  Interesting about their definition (immediately called into question by Christoph Lumer), was the idea of "rhetorical value."  He maintained that this would exclude many cases of fallacy.  For instance, absurd arguments which have little probative power; or, relatedly, an argument with lots of probative power and little persuasive power.  Battersby stood his ground that rhetorically powerless arguments can't really be fallacious, as no one would by them.

Some good commentary by van Laar (read by Krabbe).

*edited–thanks mustache man.  I was typing this during the session, trying to be quiet.